Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Tag: 70point3 (Page 1 of 5)

2018 Recap – Finding my Courage, Confidence, and Worthiness

On the heels of a completely epic 2017 where I consistently felt overwhelmed, my biggest goal for 2018 was to do LESS, with focus, purpose, and intention.

#2018bestnine – apparently y’all like bikes, bolts, and selfies with unicorn pants.

In some areas of my life, I succeeded wholeheartedly.  In others, I got waylaid, distracted, or found hidden insecurities keeping me from my goals.  The good news is that it lead me to a lot of soul searching that apparently I needed to do en route to the things I want to accomplish long term.  I feel like I’ve used my words a lot lately, so I’m honestly going to try to keep this one short (er than normal).

While it’s a 3rd, and not a 1st, and I got passed right at the end, I still think this might be the race I was the most proud of this year (Texasman).

Racing/Training:

My big scary goal was to qualify to Nationals and find myself on some age group podiums.  This year, I qualified twice, getting first place in my age group (and third female overall in one of those instances), and hit the podium two other times for 3rd place.  Then, later, I wanted to PR my half ironman and go sub-6:30 in Cozumel.  I went 6:28 on a rather tough day.

Most of the year was just flippin’ phenomenal, and I put together some solid swimming, biking, and running time after time at races.  I had a few spectacular blowups (3M, Nationals Day 2, Waco 70.3), but in the grand scheme of things, the highs were SO MUCH higher than the lows.  It was a stellar way to close out my last year in the 35-39 age group.

How did I accomplish this?  By training so much less than I have in years and years, but more specifically than normal.  Also weight training, massage, rolling, stretching (strength, flexibility, and recovery) played a huge part.

Getting dressed in the morning is much more fun when your clothing fits.

#projectraceweight:

I started 2018 at 188 lbs.  My low weight for the year has been 165.0.  I cannot be more stoked about my progress.  Whatever needed to click finally happened after eight years of things being out of sync.  Before I get played off the stage, I’d like to thank Snap kitchen and portion control for the success.  While I did my best to eat good food, I always come back to the fact that 1500 calories of pizza will do the exact same thing to the scale long term as 1500 calories of carrots.  Diet quality is huge with how I feel, and my energy levels, but as they say, abs are made in the kitchen. 

Also, I’d like to make sure and thank my appetite this year for being a homie.  Most training cycles, I couldn’t eat enough, ever.  First of all, learning to live with “no longer hungry” instead of full helped a lot, as did hitting that appetite thermocline around 170-something lbs, where I just stopped needing (both physically and mentally) so much to eat.

My favorite fish. 🙂

Personal Development:

A year ago, I wrote about wanting to enjoy human connection a bit more.  I had thought it was about being less of an asshole.  It’s not.  I’m not an asshole (I don’t think, and even if I am, it’s not actually the problem I actually wanted to solve).  While I didn’t show up to everyone’s social event (there’s a few I missed that I still feel crappy about) and didn’t all of a sudden become a people pleasing social butterfly or anything, and sometimes I would rather dig through a boatload of documentation before I get up and ask someone a question, I think I was able to foster and find human connection where it mattered.

This year was about finding my confidence and courage.  I found the beginnings of worthiness.   I also found, while digging in my brain, questioning why I do the things I do when they are counterproductive to my goals, found out that I have a lot of really weird subconscious insecurities that drive me to avoid things I want.  At some point, my asshole brain figured out that if I actually figure out the problem is that I’m scared of something, the challenge is ON I will grab that bull by the horns and do it anyway, so it convinces me I *don’t* want it or want to do it.

Just being conscious of that fact has elevated my training, my racing, my #projectraceweight progress (yep, turns out, my idiot grey matter was plotting against me on that one too), and a million billion other things that I’ve tripped over this year, squinted at quizzically and said, “REALLY?  COME ON!” and gone forward with anyway because they were absolutely MORONIC things on which to be hung up.

While it’s still sometimes a fight, and I still find myself puzzled that I’m actually scared of so many stupid things, at least I’m working on conquering this.  Earlier this year, I wrote down in a scratchpad, “Think of all the things I could do if I didn’t let fear stop me.  If I just hit each roadblock, and instead of stopping and pouting because it was a little hard, intimidating, or scary, just strategized about how to get around them and to the next checkpoint.  Think of where I could be then!”

I don’t see myself as a timid person, but I’ve definitely found that in the past, I’ve been meeker than I’ve given myself credit for, but much less so in 2018.  A work in progress, for sure, but it’s better than being in denial.

The wheels started turn, turn, turning this year (in some areas).

Self Enrichment:

2018 was the year that I was looking to either become or make huge strides towards becoming a published author. 

I like my notes here so much I’ll share them: Book complete!  Started editing!  Read a book on the industry!  Got freaked out and still haven’t returned to it after ignoring it for more than 6 months. D’oh.

It’s not all bad.  I did finish an 88k word first draft, and I know a lot more about the book publishing industry than I did this time last year (which was, like, nothing).  I’ve also spent a lot of time delving into other forms of writing.  I’ve been writing a little fiction and even a little poetry, and it’s been a lot of FUN! Finally, I’ve found that when I’m properly inspired, I’ve found my writing voice again rather than just throwing some words on a page, which has made me immeasurably happy.

But, about the book specifically, once it became real, it started to freak me out.  I found out that I’ve got two HUGE hangups here.  I’m confident in my ability to produce the work, even work that will make me proud.  However, I was intimidated by the amount of thoughts and feeling I would be sharing with people who know me IRL (the faceless masses, I’m fine with, but people who I might see at a party or at work freak me right out), and second, that I might write it, and it might be amazing, but no one will read it.

I made some strides in the first category by being a little more open on Facebook later in the year to test the waters, and I didn’t die!  Hooray!  However, I still have to figure out how to handle the second thing at some point because I will be an author someday and I hope to sell more than 10 books.

And, as always, here’s the lists:

Just occasionally I can look super serious.

Adulting:

  • Wills – done
  • Financial planner – not yet (I definitely have some hangups here, and I’m not sure why)
  • Fix our occasionally around kitty stray – nope (he disappeared for a while, and is not really around enough anymore for him to be “ours”)
  • Organize our entertainment center and pantry – nope and yep! (I swear, the first one will happen in January, it will take less than an hour)
  • Build leezard a lounging platform she can’t knock her plate off – not done (but I did just clean that room, so, that’s something)

Two of my very favorite things this year: diving and photography!

Fun stuff:

  • Resume monthly-ish game night with friends in February. – not to the letter, but in spirit.  We did a few game nights at home, some at work, and sort of unrelated, I’ve really gotten more into D&D this year.
  • Camping!so much.  Love the camper.  Can’t wait to see more amazing places in turtlehome!
  • Making videos – I did quite a few early in the year and then stopped.  I’m doing a lot more filming with work now, so that’s something, but I haven’t done much at home.  However, I’ve gotten REALLY into photography and photo editing, to the point where I’ve actually sold three copies of the same crab on stock photo sites, which I didn’t even mention here, so, let’s just say this hobby has kind of morphed?  
  • More video games.  – Yes during the winter, then not again much the rest of the year.  January is almost here and I usually end up gaming a lot then…
  • VacationsCruise in May, Krause Springs Camping in July, Cleveland in August, Cozumel in October, and Fredericksburg Camping in December. I appropriately traveled.
  • Painting – I made one and started another.  Oops.  I really fell off this over the summer and never picked it back up.  Too many hobbies, not enough time, but also, I need to let go of the fact that even if I don’t produce amazing art, it’s still FUN!
  • More bike adventures.  While my original intention was playing on the cruise bikes, which I haven’t ridden much this year,  I’ve really enjoyed playing bikes with my camera, adventuring with my bestest bike buddy and taking pictures of cool stuff.
  • Posting more interesting things besides weekly recaps – getting there, especially later in the year when I found my voice and a little fire in my belly again.  While I love a good recap and they’re not going away, my writing gets stale if all I write are status reports.
  • Crafting.  I did some beading, but I have yet to break out my sewing machine, but that’s okay.   So many hobbies, so little time.  

2018 was a lot of things, but one constant?  Bikes.  Always bikes.

This was one of my favorite years yet, and a great way to close out my thirties.  As always, I try to sum up each year with three words, and it wasn’t even difficult this time.

Courage.  Confidence. Worthiness.

While I can’t say I mastered any of these things this year, I am hot on the trail, madly pursuing them into 2019.

Wacky Waco 70.3

I’ve been hesitating writing this one, and almost convinced myself to just copy my social media posts over here and phone it in, but I do look back at this stuff for posterity, so rock and roll, let’s do this.

The week of the race was probably one of the most hellaciously hectic – not just the “to do” list, but I had to be ON a lot with filming, live streaming, and other things going on in work and life.  The problem for me sometimes is not being ON (I live for that stuff), but turning OFF after.  On the week where sleep matters A LOT, I spent a lot of nights awake thinking all the things, which is SO abnormal for me.

Thankfully, I had the headspace to take a little time off work Friday and arrive in Waco in the late afternoon (versus Saturday like we had originally planned), and all went smoothly with the trip up.  Once I got to athlete check in and did all the pre-race things, this is what I had to say:

I’ve been fretting all day, all week, heck, all month about various and sundry things both related and not related to this race. At one point, I questioned, is this what ACTUALLY losing your mind feels like? Are THEY going to find out and whisk me away to the funny farm?

After the comedy of errors which was this week, I hoped I hadn’t spent all the mental energy I had left for the race. My cup of give-a-crap hath runneth dry mid-race before, and folks, it’s not pretty. On the drive up, thankfully, things pivoted. I enjoyed conversation and actually peeping that big, beautiful, bright ball in the sky. Oh sun, I have missed you so. Never stray for so long.

When I saw the finish line today, that familiar arch, I smiled. The spark is still there. I’m pretty certain there’s still some poetry left. Forget all that fast flowing freeeezing water with debris we’re supposed to be swimming in. Never mind that race day is twenty degrees warmer than yesterday. I’m ready to do battle on Sunday, once more, with feeling, with whatever course the race director lays out before us.

And, of course, I’m enjoying the opportunity to eat all the things. That is partially why we endure, to order something from the BBQ truck called The Terminator guilt free, right? ?

It was a bit of a brave face at the time, I will admit – but I was there, I was going to race whatever course was deemed appropriate, and that was that.  I don’t back down.  I’m not a quitter, even if the notion flits through my mind occasionally.

I got the best night of sleep all week in the camper, and woke the next day naturally to do the rest of the race prep things.  We went on a test ride, dropped off our bikes, attended a race briefing to find the swim cancelled (about 10% boo since I’ve been swimming well lately, and 90% yay because that water looked VERY UNSAFE).  The only thing I botched a little was that I ate my lunch (turkey bacon guac bagel sandwich) around 4pm instead of at a reasonable hour, but followed up with dinner (chicken, potatoes, and some veggies and hummus) quickly and the calories got in as they were supposed to.  I snacked a little more than normal and was probably about 2200-2500 calories, which is a lot more that I’d take in on a rest day, but a nice surplus to start the race in the morning.

I ended the day with this thought:

While I adore fine food and drink, being pampered, and penthouse views, there’s nothing quite so peaceful as waking up in the camper. Even if the situation at hand involves all the mosquitoes, one shower for the whole camp, and the illustrious “pee bucket”, being outdoors stills my soul. Best night of sleep and the most relaxed I’ve felt all week. I’m feeling the proper amount of nerv-cited butterflies fluttering around inside.

I haven’t been able to visualize this one yet. Cozumel, I pictured it clearly months in advance. This race has remained hazy. Of course I have a race plan, I just haven’t really been able to transport myself there mentally. Now, I’m pretty sure I know why.

A week ago, one course was set. Two days ago, it was altered to a point to point swim through rapids and obstacles, and the bike course changed as well. As of this morning, the run course has changed, and the swim was scrapped. Instead of kicking off the age group racers in the first wave of the swim at about 7:30, I’ll be hopping on my bike in the middle of the fray around 9am. That’s ok. I get to chase. I love the hunt.

While there are some minor logistical adjustments with gear and nutrition to consider, the overall plan for tomorrow is unchanged: bike with my head, run with my heart.

I slept a little fitfully that evening, but it was typical pre-race.  Luckily, with the swim cancelled, we did not have an early wakeup call, and rolled into transition around 7am, with plenty of time before the race to get set up.  I had my “Courage and Confidence” playlist on repeat, and actually didn’t take my headphones off until about 5 minutes before we queued up (around 8:40am).  It was nice to hide and listen to Willy Wonka about 6379 times. 

Bike:

At first, the bike course was incredibly narrow and crowded and that made me a little cranky, but I figured it was the best they could do with the situation at hand.  I wasn’t going to do unsafe things to keep my power or speed up, so I knew early on that the bike wasn’t where I was going to kill it this race.  The idea of staying draft legal (6 bike lengths) in this situation was laughable – it was just impossible.  I did my best to not hide behind anyone for too long but I’ll admit that there was no way I was technically legal for at least the first quarter of the race.

Once it got clearer, I found that I was maintaining the 150W average I wanted to (though the plan wasn’t to find it so early) with absolutely no effort, so I went with it.  I also found that I LOVED this bike course.  It had enough elevation changes to keep my legs fresher than Cozumel without any killer climbs – lots of rollers – which I just adore.   While other people complained about the chipseal on the country roads, to me, it just felt like home, like riding out at Pflugerville or Kerrville. 

About mile 40, I felt some deep fatigue/minor cramping in my lower back and inner thighs.  I’m frustrated about this, I don’t know why this has happened in both my races when my training rides were pretty spectacular.  In practice, I took less salt and nutrition in wayyyyy hotter conditions and my rides went by in a blink of the eye.  My power dropped steadily but I stuck with the pace.  I’m proud that I rode REALLY evenly – I stayed between 18-18.7 mph the entire time.  My goal was to push the last hour to try to come in under 3 hours, but with the threat of cramping looming fiercely, I played it a little more conservative.

Bike time: 3:06:03.  I would have been about 3:04 and change, but I had to stop and pee early on and that took about 90 seconds.  This is right about what I did at Coz time-wise and power average, but I enjoyed this course MUCH more and smiled through it instead of being angry (first at others, then at myself) the whole time.

Transition:

The chute was crowded and muddy, and everyone in front of me was walking their bikes so I did too.  My legs just didn’t have it in them to run through the mud in my bike shoes (read: still on the edge of cramping).  I sat to put on my shoes and talked to people next to me.  I could have been a little more expedient, but I honestly just didn’t care right about then.  Once I got up, running felt okay so I did that, heading out under the arch, wondering what the run would hold.

Transition time:  5:29.  Meh.  I’m not impressed with this but I can’t hate myself for it either.

Run:

My legs felt oddly okay, so I just tried to pace myself at that 10-something minute mile and hoped for the best.  Quickly, I knew it wasn’t going to be my day.  I had followed my nutrition plan exactly on the bike (2xcaff gels, 1 pack of spearmint blocks, 4 salt pills, 2 303s after I started cramping, and probably about 3 bottles of gatorade).  However, within the first mile of the run, I started feeling AWFUL.  Overfull.  Nauseous.  I tried to hold it together, sometimes that fixes itself, but I walked the first aid station and could only take in water.  Not a good start.

Then, I saw Zliten, and he had one communication for me as we crossed paths, “No shame in walking the hill” and then “oh yeah, love you!”.  Then, when I got to the hill, just the bottom looking up, I shouted, “OH HELL NAW!”.  In that moment, the switch in my head flipped from “shooting for a PR” to “maybe let’s survive this and resist the urge to turn in my chip at each aid station I pass”.  While I will give the Cameron Park area props for being BEAUTIFUL, it was so hilly.  They rerouted part of the run there, which added extra elevation, and not just a little bit, the kind of hills you maintain running heart rate walking up at 18 minute mile pace and bust up your quads running down.

I’ll be honest, I sulked a lot of the first lap and walked a lot (I ran the downhills- that’s about it – not even the flats after mile 2), while also visiting at least five different porta potties to try and take care of business out of one end or the other, and figure out how to make my revolting digestive system feel better.  I could not even fathom eating anything solid (I took ZERO gels or blocks in over the course of the run), but after a while I found I tolerated gatorade and the coke was actually settling my stomach, so I stuck with that so I could at least get SOME calories in.

Finally, I got my shit together on the second lap.  I stopped hitting the porta potty at every aid station even though I still felt like I could use it the whole race.  I figured whatever happened, happened, I was beyond giving a flying fig.  I established a 100 step run/100 step walk cycle, except at aid stations and the hills (which I walked).  Once I finished up the stupid hilly section (which I said goodbye forever to – because I don’t think I plan to do this race again), I started pushing myself to increase my run cycles to 200, then 300, then 400.  I had entirely lost my internal monologue and I had a few people call me out and ask me what the heck I was counting.  Oops.  At least I was mostly passing people by that point.

My last three miles were 12:10 (a fair amount of walking), 11:24 (just a little walking), and 10:17 (I think I walked once for 100 steps), so my RUNNING was on point, I just couldn’t keep it up for that long.

Once I realized that I was close to a 3 hour run, I wasn’t willing to let that time tick over.  I’ve only run over 3 hours in a half Ironman once and it was in 2013, after being injured and having a 5 week cycle to go from being unable to walk to racing hot and hilly BSLT 70.3.  Surely, I could do better than that during the best season of my life.

Run time: 2:58:37.  Spoilers: I beat it.  But it took a pretty good physical and mental push at the end to overcome the fuckery of the rest of the run.  I’m happy I was finally able to latch onto a goal and conquer it, but gosh, it came so late in the day.  A few days out, I feel less content with this than I did after the race.  I think on Sunday I was just happy to be done, both with the race and the season, but now I have a different perspective.  Now, my sentiments about the run go something more like “fuck that race, fuck that course, fuck my stupid malfunctioning body, fuck my weak ass brain, fuck that day in particular”.  If I raced with my heart, it was kind of like this. I could have been in a better situation, but I also could have handled my cards I was dealt a little better, especially in the first lap.

Total time: 6:10:09.  Nowhere near the 5:30 I was hoping to beat, which was kind of unrealistic with that stupid run course, but I could have gotten closer if I tried a little harder and gave up a little less at some points.

My face at the finish.  Big difference in how I felt at the finish line vs Cozumel.

Lest you think I am hating everything about the race, let me talk about the awesome parts.  As I said, I was a pretty big fan of the bike course.  I got to camp, which is always a bonus!  We raced with a billion people we knew, both on Bicycle Sport Shop team and also Wattage Brigade.  The town came out in force to support us.  I’m so happy they made the call to cancel the swim early, versus having us out in transition at 5am lugging gear and wetsuits, wondering if it would happen.  It was a well done race for an inaugural one.  It just wasn’t my race, and it probably will never be with that ridiculous run, and that’s totally okay.

My heart goes to the long stuff.  I love the training.  Somehow it feels more epic and heroic to come into the finish line 6 hours later instead of under 60 minutes.  I love the idea at someday being able to podium here like I can at sprints, but my head now knows its unrealistic without a BIG change in my strength, my weight, and my brain.  While that’s a bit of a downer, it’s also enough to already make me hungry to tear shit up next season.

That is, after a NICE long winters nap where the only requirements on the schedule is lifting heavy shit a few times a week.  Ah, offseason.  I am here, finally.  Embrace me with your arms of blissful recovery!

Waco 70.3 Pre-Race – The Precipice of the Unknown

It’s race week!  Again!

Four days out, I’m finding the emotions and the machinations to be different this time.  For various reasons, anxiety as of right now has overshadowed the excitement, and uncertainty has replaced the utter SWAG I had last time.  That’s fine, that means I REALLY CARE about this, and while my sneaky little soul is trying to hide this by manifesting it in a million other things right now, I appreciate this feeling.  If the spark is there, I can fan the flames towards excitement in the next few days.  Fear of failure is much closer to courage to try than the typical unbridled apathy I’ve found in racing for the last few years.

Feeling all the things and practicing being brave has been a little tiring – literally – I haven’t been sleeping as well as normal.  Giving a crap is weird and squishy and while some of the side effects are unwelcome, this is some positive personal development.  I hope I find some peace on the other side of the finish line on Sunday.  However, now that I have been practicing things that scare me a little to get comfortable at courage, I have a few OTHER things in play that I’m going for, so I may just sit here constantly reverberating like a nervous chihuahua until my heart explodes.  Stay tuned.

My head and my heart also haven’t had enough time to forget how much these things HURT.  Cozumel took every ounce and the only reason I actually still existed afterwards was massive amounts of caffeine until the epic crash crash crash that literally incapacitated me.  I intend to start a little slower on both the bike and the run, but my intention is to put forth the same or more effort OVERALL.  It’s fun to be all confident about seeking the man with the hammer… once.  While that’s what I want with all my courage this time, part of my heart feels like it’s just pure masochism to thrust myself into that fire walk again so soon. 

Also, this whole “giving a shit” thing also comes with the baggage of wanting to race well in front of people I know.  I’ll be on the course with a TON of BSS teammates and some of the Wattage Brigade.  While logic dictates they’ll be wholly absorbed in their own races, there’s the performer in me that wants very badly to do well on the closest thing to “home court” right now.  I also want to show myself that PR’ing in Cozumel wasn’t a fluke.  This race has the potential to have perfect conditions (as in NOT AS HOT AS THE CENTER OF THE SUN) and the only thing that would hold me back is my head, heart, legs, or lungs.

Putting aside sports and racing psychology – the race conditions are also incredibly uncertain.  I’m told we’ll know tomrrow if we have a swim or not, currently the water is dookie brown, fast flowing, and full of debris.  The current transition area is underwater.  I don’t know if I’ll be racing a 70.3, a 69.1, a half marathon, or just heading up to Waco to camp and drink beer for a weekend.  I know what to do – I need to be prepared for anything and everything and stay adaptable, but between the unknow and the constant crappy weather, it no longer feels like triathlon season in the slightest and another reason my excitement is waning.

Here’s the good news – the legs and lungs part of the equation seem to be willing.  The sludge I was experiencing post-vacation is mostly gone.  While it’s been PULLING TEETH to get myself to train, when I show up, the magic happens.  In the last week, I’ve PR’d my 1.2 mile swim and ran an 8:36 mile off a race power (read: not easy) bike.  This does not suck.  As long as I can summon the motivation to strap on my armor and pick up my axe, the odds seem to end up ever in my favor.  I’ve had no spectacular blowups, which I kind of expected on the way back to being whole after Coz, just solid days pushing the numbers I’m aiming for without too much strife in my grey matter, at least during.  It all feels so much less magical than last time, but the foundation is there.   That’s a big building block in the confidence to try again.

So, the order of the week is rest up.  Psych up.  Show up.  Make the magic happen!

For the record – here’s all the gory details I’ll want to look back on later.

Oct 15-21 training.

  • 35 min and 30 min race power trainer practice
  • Fastest swims in a while – 1:55/100m at the longer Lifetime pool and 1.2 miles in about 38 minutes. 
  • 1 hour race pace run (5.7 miles)
  • 1 hour race power bike/5k faster than race pace brick (9:30/mile)
  • One kettlebell session

Oct 22-28

  • One bodyweight session with a nice long stretch and roll
  • Short brick (20 min race power/1 fast mile)
  • Pre-race swim/bike shakeout (if we swim, if not… meh)
  • RACE!

Nutrition plan:

  • Friday night camping food: hot dogs and a carbtastic side
  • Saturday breakfast: bean and cheese breakfast tacos
  • Saturday lunch: turkey bacon guac bagel sandwich (trying for a little more calories than normal)
  • Saturday dinner: grilled chicken, baked potato, pre-made salad
  • Race breakfast: two caffeine beans, earl grey tea, english muffin with sunbutter and honey, coconut water, watermelon, sip on gatorade before the race
  • Race day nutrition on the bike: caff gel ASAP and every 45 mins (alternate caff/non caff), gatorade handoffs at every bottle stop (or as necessary depending on the temperature).  Cocktail of salt pills and 303s halfway through (possibly one more dose of salt pills near the end depending on the weather). 
  • Race day nutrition on the run: One more cocktail, probably about mile 3, bring a caff gel, non caff gel, and a pack of spearmint blocks, and try to consume at least two of them.  Take in all the gatorade and coke (yeah brown ponyyyyy!) possible for that sweet sweet sugar and caffeine high!

Race plan:

Feet up as much as possible Saturday, get to the race EARLY Sunday since parking is up in the air and I’m in one of the first waves.

Swim the same effort I dialed in on Saturday.  Just an inch past comfortable.  Concentrate on either finding some space or some slightly faster feet.  To do that, I need to have confidence to seed myself properly (for a race like this, probably not front pack but at least first half) and concentrate on long, relaxed strokes.  Around 40 minutes would be ideal, give or take depending on the conditions.

Transition 1 I plan to roll the same as Cozumel.  Wetsuit off, helmet, glasses, shoes, go.  This is a single transition race, so I should save some time not having to bag everything up.  The goal is motivation for quick locomotion without pure seething rage, like last time.

Biking during this cycle, all my really successful training rides involved a slower start and then chasing a power number.  They also involved elevation, pace, and effort changes, not a constant effort.  I’ve got a plan to make sure my race goes this way as well:

  • Hour 1: 130-ish power.  This should feel like holding back.
  • Hour 2: work up to 140 power average.  This should feel like a good ride.
  • Hour 3: try to work up to 150 power average, if it makes sense.  I don’t want to be gassed at the end, but it is allowed to feel like work at this point.
  • Every 15 minutes, stand up (or at least sit up) and push out 30-60 seconds of 200-250 power if I haven’t had to do anything similar recently.
  • Also, be advised that my power is not 100% dialed in, it’s my first season really tracking it, so perceived effort can trump this, especially in the later miles.  It’s a target, not the arrow.

It would be nice to break 3 hours, but I’m not going to tank my run to do it.

Transition 2 is lava.  It will be slower than T1 because I have to put on socks and tie my shoes, but the goal is a minimal amount of time of effing around.  Socks, shoes, race belt, hat, go.

Running has been going well, but is always the wildcard.  My one confidence building workout didn’t do quite so much as I was hoping, but it was a nice, solid, race pace double digit run off a not-so-easy bike.  So, I’m going to start this one a little more conservatively than Cozumel.  Frankly, the first trek up the hill on the way out, I plan to sandbag myself a little bit.  I find when I PUSH UP THE HILL SUPER HARD it bites me in the ass later, so taking a little extra time on the way up the first time based on how I feel may pay divedends later.  I plan to ENJOY THE HECK out of running the downhills and push THOSE fast.

I want to run the whole thing as long as it’s the fastest means to the end.  The marathon I ran every step of the way was a proud accomplishment, but not my fastest.  However, if I’m just steadily jogging 12 minute miles, I know that suuuuuuuuper sucks for me and I’ll get more out of myself if I strategically alternate walk breaks and faster running (Coz average, with LOTS of walking, was 11:30-ish).  Plan A is to start out running 10:30-ish minute miles and stay there (or speed up) until death or the finish line.   I’d like to see approximately 2:15 here, whatever that looks like.

Overall, that looks perilously close to 6 hours with some decent transitions.  I know total time was REALLY motivating in Cozumel, so I will probably switch there sometime in the second lap and work on busting ass to hit the closest even number.  I would be over the moon if that even number I was striving to beat was 6:00:00.

I’m not entirely sure why race weeks also end up being the craziest in work and life, but this one hasn’t disappointed in that regard.  I’m more than looking forward to wrap up doing about 20 different nerve-wracking and brave things (we are what we repeatedly do) and spend the 36 hours before the race in the woods, in the peace and quiet.

Last time, I needed to bring all the noise.  This race, I need some quiet, to center myself, and to prepare myself to race once more with renewed feeling.  I know in my heart, if I do it right, I’ll toe the line with my heart, head, legs and lungs ready to do battle, I just need to spend a little time in bubble wrap to get myself there.

Forward

For now, I’ll skip over the vacation parts of vacation.

Spoiler: it involved SO MANY TURTLES!!!

Believe me, it was epic, and I posted some tales on Instagram when my phone decided that it would hold a charge and also connect to wifi (which was rare).  My soul feels very recharged after a week under the water and in the sun, and the amount of pictures I have to process and edit is both daunting and exciting and I can’t wait to share them.

The transition was quick.  Sunday at 1pm I was hanging out in a hot tub in Mexico.  Monday at 9am I was back in the office.  Monday at 6pm, I was in the gym throwing around kettlebells.  Less than 48 hours after my plane landed, I was (barely) holding race power on the bike and trying to shake the sludge out of my legs with some faster running.  If I’m going to race Waco, there’s no rest for this triathlete.  Y’know, besides that week where I had a very heavy training load (10+ hours underwater, more weight training hauling tanks and gear) but absolutely no specificity.  And actually, not pushing too too much because that would be counter-productive.  Let’s just say, back to a (sane) training schedule I went!

I’ve never raced two long races this close back to back, so this is a new, fun experiment of ONE (ok TWO since my husband is also doing these crazy things with me) that could fail miserably or perhaps produce race day magic. Considering my success with a lot of back to back racing weekends earlier this year, I’m hoping for the latter!

This Tuesday was a lot different than last Tuesday.

Here’s where I’m at right now:

  • Officially, I should be back in taper.  I had planned to do a little more last week, but it actually worked out to be about 6.5 hours.  This is fine.  I’m a little cranky I skipped my wetsuit swim but everything else went well.
  • Back in June when I laid out the full season’s training plan, I set October 13th to be a CONFIDENCE BUILDING workout.  I knew I’d have ONE shot to rectify whatever was the biggest chink in my armor at Cozumel, and I’d tailor the workout to that.  Two weeks out, I’m not going to be building much endurance, so the purpose of Saturday’s workout was 100% mental.  That workout was a 1 hour trainer ride at race power (result was a little low but also my power meter kept dropping out :P), and then a 2 hour run at race pace (a shade under 10:30/mile for eleven and a half in conditions not dissimilar to Cozumel – hot and muggy with a few sprinkles).  I haven’t done any longer runs off the bike and that may be part of what broke me on race day (and, also, the ridiculous heat, but let’s focus on the things I can control).
  • How I feel right now at this moment: a little sludgy, both mentally and physically.  I definitely feel like I just raced and gave it a lot but it’s coming around.  I’m confident I’ve got what I need under there, but I’m just not SHARP right now like I was before Cozumel.  Maybe that’s good.  I expended a LOT of nervous mental and physical energy that I had in excess over the three weeks of taper last time, maybe this cycle I’m destined to be calmer and have things come together at just the right time.

Here’s what I feel like I could improve from the last race (and what I’m doing to fix it):

This is the last wetsuit pic I have… from 2016.  I own 3 and I don’t like any of them, really…

I had too much time on my feet before the race.  We had originally planned to get to Waco Saturday morning, but now, we’re taking a quarter day off work on Friday and plan to get there in time to hit packet pickup, mayyyybe athlete briefing, and set up the camper the day before the day before.  In theory, all I should need to do on Saturday now is drop off my bike and do a practice swim, and the rest of the day is lounging in and around the camper.  Pefect!

I will get up early enough race morning to not be rushing to the swim start in the back of the line.  I swim about 40 minutes for this race, that’s where I need to seed myself.

This swim will likely be a wetsuit swim, and I take a little bit to get used to swimming in my sausage casing.  I will be hitting a lake at least THREE times before race day (even if I have to swim in 50-something degrees air temperatures).

The elevation change for Waco is about 1k feet over the 56 mile bike.  Still very flat, but not quite pancake like Cozumel.  I need to work out a schedule to have some forced intervals in there (with easier sections) so my legs don’t get stale.  Maybe 1 minute 200+ power, 1 minute ~100 power every 15?  I also plan to go out a little more conservatively – every training ride I would start at lower power and build over the three hours.  I’m going to make that my goal (build to 130W hour 1, 140W hour 2, 150 or as close as I can hour 3 or something like that) instead of heading out of transition like a rabid squirrel on speed.

The run is a little hillier – double the elevation gain of Cozumel – though it’s hard to be as flat as FLAT.  There are two longer hills.  My goal is to NOT WALK ON THESE HILLS.  If I want to walk, it’s gotta be on the downhills.  And I feel stupid walking downhill, so perhaps with this mentality and some luck with the weather, I can goad myself into running the whole damn thing finally.  There will be a lot of people I know at this race, and I plan to ask them to literally BERATE AND YELL AT ME if they see me walking.  I don’t want encouragement or kind words, I want to be told to SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP and GET A FUCKING MOVE ON.  I doubt I’ll get that because most people are really nice, but hopefully the FEAR of it will motivate me.

A week back from Cozumel and I feel like I’ve lost most, if not all, of the crappy inflammation and water weight.  I think, somehow, it all came off during Saturday’s run (I felt the extra weight hauling up some of those hills for sure), because since then I’m *about* back to where I was before I left (168-170).  Two more weeks of tracking calories and Snap Kitchen mainly and hopefully I can race Waco slightly lighter than Cozumel.  I’m super excited that my race prep will be 100% my own food cooked from the camper grill, that should help things immensely! 

While I wish two days of carb gluttony before the race helped me, because it’s SUPER FUN, I’ve never seen any sort of success with it, so I’m planning just to eat like a normal human with a few extra snacks (fruit, crackers, almonds, etc) the day before.  I think any benefit I get with slightly-more topped off carb stores, I lose with a super gross sloshy stomach and extra weight on race day.  I may look back on this in 3 years and do this…

…but it’s my current strategy.  So I’m documenting it.  I work differently than other humans, and I’ve accepted this.  My best 70.3 previous to Cozumel (2014), my only carb sources for the season were corn and potatoes the day before and I didn’t eat to excess.  I’ve found I tolerate some whole wheat now as well, and brown rice is back to being a homie, but I don’t plan on going crazy, just my normal sprint plan (normal breakfast, turkey sandwich on wheat for lunch, grilled chicken with potato and salad for dinner) plus extra snacks to be like 2000-ish calories vs 1500.

So, this week, I has plans.

  • Two weights sessions (today and Wed)
  • Four trainer rides practicing the progression to race power (today, tomorrow, Wednesday, Saturday) 30-60+ mins
  • One pool swim (tomorrow), one lake swim (Saturday)
  • 8 mile run race pace (Thursday), 5k brick run off the bike faster than race pace (Saturday).
  • Stretch  or roll every day.
  • Track food – 1500 calories most days with 2-3 slightly higher (due to workout load).

The unicorns and Wattage Cottage sock doping will get me through.  I hope.

Two more weeks of triathlon season.  While I’m not itching to be a lazy slob and sit on my butt, I am really excited for a few months of the plan pretty much saying “lift weights and do whatever else you feel like for the cardios” for a while.  Just 13 more days of holidng it together and being good, and then one more massive, herculean effort at another 70.3 PR to go!

Week 4 – The Secret to Success

Hi everyone!  I leave for Nationals tomorrow!

All the feels!

I went from zero freakouts to maximum over the course of Monday, so I shut down my planned second workout of the day and just destressed and prepared instead.  I think I’ve even outdone my normal craziness with a 10 page vacation document for 4 nights away, but there’s so much “you must be here at this particular time” going on this weekend, and we don’t have a car, so it’s definitely not our normal getaway.

My goals in Cleveland are to:

#1 Survive racing back to back days.  I think I’m less worried about the actual effort, and more about the back to back 4am wakeups (ughhhh), and all the logistics that go along with racing two different races, so there’s that.

#2 I rarely get to race Olympic distance, so I’d like to take a stab at the holy grail for me, a sub-3 hour race.  The temperatures and the course should lend itself well to it, we’ll see how my legs and brain react to the day.

#3 Have fun!  I don’t have any delusions about actually qualifying for worlds in either category this year, so I’m just here to enjoy the experience and hopefully not come in last (and even if I do, eh, it’s fine, I know I’m a little fish in a big pond again).

This week I’m training fairly minimally because I’m not 100% sure how my body will react to two hard efforts in a row and I want to give it the best fighting chance possible without a real taper.  Also, it’s a great excuse to let some little niggles try and heal.  I’m looking at you, stupid blister on my right arch and cranky left leg (earlier in the week, my glute was bothering me, now it’s my ankle… sigh… the tapers).  I’m doing a bunch of short swims, did one bodyweight session, some bike riding, and trying to stretch and roll and boots as much as possible while I’m at home since all I’m traveling with is my teeny portable roller.

Monday morning bike rides make the entire week better.

Last week was a great training week – I hit every session I planned!

  • Monday: 1 hour easy bike ride, gym weights
  • Tuesday: AM run: 9 miles at 10:30-11:00 min/mile pace
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: 20 mins swim, 30 min bike, 2 mile run indoor tri at Lifetime (unofficial, of course)
  • Friday: AM weights, PM open water swim
  • Saturday: 45 mile TT ride at the Veloway, 3 mile brick run (9:30-ish/mile goal pace)
  • Sunday: off

Things to note:

Tuesday’s run was the first strugglebus in a while.  I still did the exact run at the exact paces I needed, but the second half was not pleasant and I definitely aggravated my blister doing it.  It was a great mental toughness workout and honestly, I’ve had worse. 

On Thursday, I pulled off just about the exact same paces I did at the Indoor Tri in January but they felt much easier.  I almost hurled after getting off the treadmill earlier this year, keeping the same pace in August felt challenging but not pukeworthy.  The perceived effort on the bike wasn’t even the same zip code.  I was dying the entire time in January, this was a build from steady to sorta challenging by the end now, both ending at 10.1 miles in 30 minutes.

Saturday’s ride was actually super nice – while 15 loops of anything gets monotinous, it was nice not having to dodge cars or stop for anything but bottle fills.  I was able to manage 18.2 mph for the entire ride and the effort felt reasonable.  My legs were a little sore after 45 miles (which makes sense, because this is my longest ride in six months by 10 miles), but I definitely had another 11 miles in me to complete the half ironman distance and my legs ran off that bike just fine (I held 9:50s instead of 9:30s, but heck, it already was feels like 100 when we started, so I’m still pretty proud of that). 

On swimming: I just haven’t been able to manage to get myself to hit the 70.3 race distance yet.  I’ve increased my comfort zone to a little under a mile (1500-1600yd), I just haven’t had the oomph to do that .2 yet.  My glute most commonly starts barking on longer swims (especially towing the safe swimmer – I decided the second lap without it on Friday was worth the risk so I ditched it), so I’ve cut a lot of attempts at 3 lake loops (about 2400 yd) to 2 (1600 yd) because of it.  As long as I get a few 3 loop swims and some longer pool swims before race day, I should be fine (and I have 7 weeks after this one to do it so… not worried yet).

Training requires some substantial high quality food.  Training does not require that chocolate thing, but it did come with the meal so *shrug*.

I’ll announce that I’ve found the answer to weight loss success.  If correlation = causation, then all you need to do is eat two slices of cake, skip your planned workout, and drink whiskey for dinner.

Yep, I’ll be selling this on late night infomercials starting next week.  It’s the path to success!  Actually, I know what I do in the weeks before seems to affect me much more on the scale than what I’m doing immediately (unless it’s drastic like a long hot run or ride or eating a giant bowl of super salty MSG-filled pho), so I don’t want to get cocky, but for better or worse, that was my Monday and I woke up and weighed myself on Tuesday and the scale taunted me with 169.8, 169.9, and then finally settled on 170.2.  While that’s a low swing, my upswing the next day was only back to 173, and my trendweight is actually tilting down rather nicely.

  • Average calorie burn: 2519
  • Average calorie intake: 1888 (-631 deficit)
  • Average weight change: 175.0 to 174.5 (-0.5)
  • Average diet quality: 21.4

So, underneath my “diet by cake and laziness”, I actually have some solid scores for last week.  My goal for the next few months will honestly be to just keep doing pretty much this above and see where it takes me.  I ate mostly healthy food in the proper portions and counted my calories, but this plan also involves a burger and fries, whiskey and wine, a giant bag of BBQ from Rudy’s that consisted of most of this weekend’s protein, one small slice of cake and half a cookie.  So, it’s not all angelic but 9 hours of training means there’s room for a few splurges here and there.

This week, I’m going to have less of a deficit because I’ll be doing less training, and probably not taking the calories down too much lower (both because of racing).  So, I’ll expect to not see too much happening on the scale, but I hope to minimize the asshole eating (but allow for some) while in a new city.

Fun with the fireworks setting…

In life matters that don’t involve triathlon or what I put in my mouth, I edited July 5th and July 6th camping photos.  I still have 51 left for July 7 and 8th, but you can see what’s done HERE.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been so late with a vacation post (I almost want to pre-date it to July to hide my shame :D), so maybe look for a PART ONE coming soon-ish.  Maybe I need to post about my July vacation before I leave town in August.  Maybe I’m ridiculous, but I just love to explore and take photos!  Now, if someone could pay me more than 18 cents for it…

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